Rotta Winery » Profile
Rotta Winery, founded in 1908, is the oldest originally family-owned winery in San Luis Obispo County. Mike Giubbini and Mark Caporale have combined their talents to bring back to life the historic and rustic winery. In doing so, Rotta wines have already won several gold medals, including old vine Zinfandel and Dessert Sherry. The tasting room is open daily from 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 805.237.0510. www.rottawinery.com
To longtime fans of this wine region, the name Rotta Winery might ring a few bells, but only if you were familiar with Paso Robles' wines before the rest of the country barely knew where Paso was. In fact, you have to go back several decades discover the beginnings of Rotta Winery, which was one of the first three wineries established in Paso Robles - the others were York Mountain and Pesenti.
The original vineyard and winery were started in 1856 by a Frenchman named Adolph Siot, who later sold the successful enterprise to Joe Rotta in 1905. In the 1920s, Rotta then sold it to his brother Clement Rotta, who bonded the winery after Prohibition in the 1930s and forged the label into one best known for its hearty Zinfandels.
Today, the Rotta label is being revived by one of their grandsons, Michael Giubbini, who remembers long, happy days of working in the vineyard as a child when he visited his grandparents from his home in Menlo Park. He fell in love with the area, so after graduating from high school, he attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and has been here ever since.
In 1990, despite the demands of a now 30-year career as a fire captain with the California Department of Forestry (CDF), Giubbini undertook the task of replanting the old family vineyard "mostly to Zinfandel. It's a hearty grape that's proven in this area, and my grandparents planted it. I wanted everything head pruned and dry farmed - dry farming's really the only way to go out here."
The 20-acre Rotta estate vineyard has 15 acres in Zinfandel and five in Cabernet Sauvignon. Until 2002 -- the first that Giubbini kept the fruit for the Rotta label -- the grapes went into the wines of nearby Castoro Cellars, where the Zinfandel enjoyed a prestigious "Giubbini Vineyard" designate label.
The Rotta label has many award-winning red wines such as Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and also Black Monukka - a dessert wine. All of the fruit for the label will be sourced from local vineyards, especially those from the Westside. Giubbini is a strong believer in the potential of the Paso area, and particularly the Templeton region where his ancestors farmed.
"We want the Rotta wines to reflect the high quality of our old vines and reflect the unique nature of our soils," said Giubbini.
The Rotta tasting room and winery is located in the Templeton hills, and features a unique blend of history and modern winemaking technology. One thing that's definitely staying is the old redwood sign with "Rotta Winery" neatly hand stenciled in white paint. "I painted that sign when I was ten years old," remembered Giubbini.
250 Winery Road
Open daily 10:30 - 5:30
original label 1930